An historic former school building next to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is to be converted into a spectacular boutique hotel and restaurant as part of the £150 million New Waverley development currently transforming the city’s Old Town.
The C-listed red sandstone Canongate Venture building, one of Edinburgh’s last remaining ‘School Board’ designs of the late-Victorian era, will become a 21-room luxury aparthotel, managed by Apple Apartments.
Plans for the two-story building include the conversion of the original school rooms into 21 double-height self-catering apartments, each with a mezzanine level providing separate sleeping and living areas. The rooms will overlook a light-filled glass atrium forming part of a spectacular central galleried hall, which has remained unchanged since the building was first designed in 1901 as an infant school by Edinburgh School Board architect Robert Wilson.
Launched in 2013, London-based Apple Apartments is fast-becoming one of the UK’s most successful niche aparthotel operators, specialising in the conversion of small-scale period buildings into high-quality serviced apartments. The company is run by Scottish businessman Billy Cowe and his brother Peter, who have been involved in global property management and development for the past 15 years.
“We knew straight away that this historic building would be perfect for our next specialist conversion project,” says Billy Cowe.
“As well as sitting alongside the Royal Mile, one of the world’s most iconic streets, it also has a range of striking features both inside and out, which make it genuinely stand out as a unique destination not just in Edinburgh but across the UK.
“There is a huge, growing demand for high-quality serviced apartments in good city-centre locations serving both corporate and leisure markets. The Canongate Venture is set to become a flagship aparthotel across our UK business, offering something a little different. As well as fully serviced rooms, we will also be incorporating 24-hour butler service, an exclusive customer lounge and a gourmet restaurant which will also provide room service for guests.”
Discussions for the ‘in-house’ restaurant are currently underway with top London names including an internationally recognised successful chef. As well as serving main meals, the restaurant will also provide a full room service menu for all the apartments – including breakfast.
Inside, the new boutique hotel will keep many of the original features such as the glass atrium and original wood floors. New features such as bespoke wood panelling walls and specially designed Tweeds will be used to create a 5-star high quality environment inspired by other flagship Apple developments, including Marconi House on the Strand in London.
The restoration of the Canongate Venture forms part of the latest phase of the New Waverley development currently transforming the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Delivered by Artisan Real Estate Investors, the 7.5 acre site links Waverley Station to the Royal Mile and the creation of a new hotel marks another significant milestone in the evolution of New Waverley as one of Edinburgh’s most anticipated new destinations.
“Apple Apartments is yet another brilliant addition for a location which is now delivering on its promises,” says Clive Wilding, New Waverley’s project director. “Since the turn of the year, we have opened two hotels – a Premier Inn and a Hub by Premier Inn – on site and are shortly to complete another, the Adagio Aparthotel, connecting to the Royal Mile through an exciting new public square.
“We are also welcoming more independent traders to The Waverley Arches, a row of 15 converted Victorian arches which sits along from the Canongate Venture. This is all contributing to a major buzz about the area, bringing life and excitement back to what was once a neglected part of the city.”
The transformation of the Canongate Venture building will be carried out by Edinburgh-based Staran Architects, who are also delivering the conversion of the Waverley Arches. Subject to final planning consents, it is anticipated that building work will begin in autumn 2016, aiming for completion by the second half of 2017.
For more information on New Waverley, visit this site www.newwaverley.com and for Apple Apartments visit www.apple-apartments.com